GREEN HOME SHOW #42: Green Expo and healthy living: Part 2 Skits and Thumbs up and Thumbs down
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The following content is from THE GREAT GREEN HOME SHOW #42.
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NEWS FLASH – 2:00 This News Flash is sponsored by: Energy Services Group
This is Walter Krankedtite bringing you an important bulletin from Green Fox News Radio Network.
As recently reported by Newsweek, it appears that even in the midst of our current construction and housing slowdown, there is a bright spot... in fact, it’s a big green spot.
Although many in the building industry are losing their jobs, housing starts are down in numbers that have people speaking the dreaded “R” word, and dropping home prices are leaving many with mortgages bigger than their home’s value, there is reason to remain optimistic... according to Newsweek many in the Green Building profession have seen both their output and clientele more than double in the recent past. In a 2007 survey by the National Association of Homebuilders, the average homebuyer indicated they'd be willing to spend an additional $8,964 on a home capable of cutting their utility bills.
Throughout the industry there is a sense that consumers have finally reached a tipping point and that green building and construction as the new norm is almost a foregone conclusion… a fait a complet if you will. It’s been apparent to this reporter for a number of years that this country would finally pull it’s head out of it’s butt long enough to realize that healthier, energy efficient housing is the only way to go.
Take the following example:
A homeowner adds $8000 dollars to a thirty year mortgage to pay for energy efficiency upgrades, such as extra insulation, high-efficiency furnaces, windows, and the like. The additional mortgage payment due each month on the additional $8000 will typically be far less than the savings each month on energy costs, giving the homeowner new energy efficient upgrades that will save not only money but also massive quantities of carbon, all while leaving the homeowner with a positive cash flow. That America, is the true definition of a “win-win”.
In some states, even a geothermal system, which can cost twice as much as an ordinary heating and cooling system, will pay for itself in as little as six or seven years. That means putting money in your pocket each subsequent year while simultaneously reducing your home’s carbon footprint to nearly nothing.
This reporter is taking an optimistic approach and though there are some black clouds on the horizon, I see that each one has a big “green” lining. I’m Walter Krankedtite and that’s the way it is.
The preceding was a message of the Environmental Communication Foundation. We now return you to Toilet Training for Dummies.
Mission Possible – 5:00 Sponsored by: CMI Electric
Episode 3 – “Of Meat and Waterboards”
Mission Impossible music:
Voice: This week we find Doug Hunt, the smarter, younger, faster, and prettier brother of former “Possible Mission Force” (PMF) agent Ethan Hunt, tied up with fellow PMF agent Bad Pritt after being captured while trying to infiltrate SNIEED headquarters in order to steal back the SNERS report and save the world. It appears that driving up to the Guard Shack in a Hummer that runs on vegetable oil was not as stealthful as they had originally anticipated. There is a silver lining however, as both Anita Reason in the Green Fox left the vehicle just prior to arriving at SNIEED, to follow their primal urge for french fries and cheese. We join them now as they wait in line to order food at what they believe is a typical fast food joint, completely unaware that they are actually standing in what amounts to a front for SNIEED. In fact, the basement of the “Burg-in-Hand” is actually connected with SNIEED headquarters by tunnel, less than one half mile away, and their compadres are now actually directly below their feet in the SNIEED torture chamber.
AR: Okay, if we ordered a large cheese fries with two forks, we can save close to $.35, as long as you promise not to hog any of my fries.
GF: Why yes, I believe I can control myself from consuming your portion of the French fried potatoes avec fromage... however I do require that all catsup remain on the side and it does not touch my fries... I like to dip; not smother... and as a former carnivore however, I will require a bit of assistance, as I must admit, being anywhere near an establishment that offers hamburgers drives me to the brink of insanity.
AR: That's okay Fox, I'm gonna help you out... if you start thinking about ordering a burger, I'll simply grab you and remind you that before they feed cows corn to fatten them up, they first inject them with chemicals so that they can actually digest the corn. Very few people know that cows are intentionally made to be sick, so that their digestive systems can process corn and other grains... not to mention all the other chemicals that are needed to get the cows to market, or that our bodies aren’t really designed to digest beef, or that the average 50 yr old American male has 2.5 lbs of undigested beef in his colon. Did I mention that they actually make the cows sick on purpose? Personally I only eat grass fed beef... and I look for the organic label... Look around you Foxy… does this look like an organic, grass fed beef kinda place?
GF: I suppose not. And to be honest, it’s rather odiferous in here... which reminds me, I can’t help but wonder where Doug and Bad are... they should’ve called us by now... I hope nothing’s gone awry.
Narrator: As our soon-to-be-heroes are deciding what to eat, their fellow PMF Agents are just below them in the torture chambers of SNIEED headquarters...
SNIEED Boss: So you thought you could infiltrate our headquarters, did you Mr. Hunt. As you see, we are not as dumb as we look, even on radio...
DH: Oh, don’t sell yourself short... from here you're looking pretty clueless... as we speak, your entire SNIEED headquarters is being surrounded by the rest of my PMF Team... and any moment, they’ll bust in here, free us, and put you behind bars for a very, very long time...
SNIEED Boss: I'm afraid Mr. Hunt that the only bars that I will be seeing are ones California wines and imported beers behind them. You see, right now Anita Reason, and the Green Fox are struggling with their choice of cheese flavor for their trans-fat free french fries right upstairs. The “rest of your team”, which consists of a very bright supermodel and the Fox that no one can see, are completely fooled by my clever fast food front.
DH: In that case can I get a double cheeseburger with cheese fries and some ketchup on the side?
SNIEED Boss: Lunch will have to wait Mr. Hunt. Right now we’re going to torture you to see if you have any information about other agents who may know our whereabouts and our hideout...
BP: It was all his idea! I was gettin’ ready to shoot a movie and I thought he was a movie producer, I mean... I thought we were coming to shoot some burger joint movie... Revenge of the Fries... Lord of the Fries… Fry Boys… No Country for Old Fries... Seems Like Old Fries… Time Fries When your Having Fun… Fry Me to the Moon… Fry me a River… the Frying Game… Fry Baby Fry… Big Girls Don’t Fry… Can’t Fry Me Love… you know some kind new spoof movie...
SB: My aren’t you the brave one? Well my blonde, chiseled, Boy Toy, we'll be getting to you next. I must warn you both… you will tell me everything! There are many levels of pain that you will indure and ultimately, we’ll get to the most painful form of torture known to man... You will be forced to listen to Bon Jovi's “Livin’ on a Prayer”... over and over and over again... (evil laugh) Ha ha ha… pure evil… and unless you're a teenage girl or a menopausal woman from New Jersey, you will crack like an egg… and a beg for mercy… Ha ha ha!
BP: No dude, no!!!... anything but that!!!
DH: Actually you crapweasel… may I call you crapweasel? I am originally from New Jersey... and so I’m immune to Bon Jovi… and Richie Sambora... in fact I really liked his first solo album… it was kinda of retro, without being…
SB: Enough!!!... I'm the one doing the torturing.... okay, let’s start with some video of Karl Rove rapping in front of a big group of Republicans at a fundraiser in DC... look! Look!!! Prop his eyes open! Make him watch it again and again... then we’ll go to the video of starving children from all over the world who don't have enough to eat because we’ve raised the price of food by tying the price of grain to gasoline through our thirst for ethanol and cheap transportation.... even SNIEED could not have conceived such a diabolical plan....huuuhaa huu hhaaa
DH: AYUUGH AGUUUH!!! I can’t take it…no... nooooooooooooo!!!!!
... don't miss next week's exciting adventure of Mission Possible.
Thumbs Up / Thumbs Down – 5:00 Sponsored by: Option Insurance Group
Did You Know?
PNC Bank, now has more certified green buildings than any other company in the world, and continues to receive national recognition for its leadership and commitment to the environment. One only needs to look at PNC's 25 green branches and First Site Center for examples of how the company integrates environmental responsibility with its daily business practices.
But until recently, stamping those buildings (green) was not an easy or efficient process. The US Green Building Council's requirements involve in rigorous evaluation and a significant amount of staff time and paperwork for each building.
For the past 18 months, PNC has been encouraging the USGBC to issue bulk certifications which would allow companies that apply the same environmentally friendly design and construction to receive simultaneous review and, if they meet the criteria, received certification for all of the same or similar buildings
On November 15th of last year, the Council launched just such a process announcing it at the green and gold expo in Denver, attended by 12,000 people.
PNC was announced as the first-ever recipient of bulk certification, earning green status for 18 branches across five states. All of the branches were built based on the same design and open since April of 2005.
The USGBC’s decision reduces PNC's administrative costs and validates the firms environmental commitment. Additionally, with a less cumbersome process to complete, other companies can similarly benefit and bring faster change to reduce emissions and increase energy efficiency of commercial buildings nationwide.
“This increases the incentive for retailers who have large rollouts to go through the process” said Gary Saulson, director of corporate real estate in a recent Wall Street Journal article. PNC is the first retailer (in any industry) to build all its new locations green.
Finland: Europe's technology leader.
Although it's on the fringe of Europe geographically, for years Finland has been at the center of the continent's tech industry.
The country gave birth to cell phone leader Nokia has emerged as a place where multinationals like to recruit and erect labs. The government and local entrepreneurs are now moving into clean technology.
Prime Minister Matthew Vanhaten says that back in the 80’s, the country saw the dawning of globalization and realized it would have to dig out a high-end niche in the industry. “Because we cannot compete with Asian companies with low wages, our only possibility has been to stay a few steps forward. Of course”, he said, “we also invested in education.”
And here's the key part; as a nation, funding for research and development has also consistently remained fairly high. Finland invests around 3.5% of its gross domestic product into R&D. “There are only two or three other nations that spend that much” he said. The Eastern European bloc as a whole wants to raise the figure for member states to 3%.
A thumbs up to Finland for finding a way to keep their economy going and growing. Well, globalization continues to level the playing field here in the US. Perhaps our government should be watching and listening.
Super Bowl Slavery
Bridgestone Firestone North American Tire, the world's largest seller of tires, spent more than $10 million as "official tire sponsor" of the Super Bowl halftime show in Phoenix last month, and will likely spend that much and more to sponsor the event in 2009. But the entertainment and advertising images beamed into American living rooms during the most-watched sporting event of the year stand in sharp contrast to the harsh working conditions, child labor and exposure to toxic chemicals at the company's rubber plantations in Liberia.
The company is using the Super Bowl as a public relations platform to cleanse its image as it faces a class-action lawsuit in US District Court in Indiana, filed by the International Labor Rights Forum, a Washington-based advocacy organization. The ILRF and several plaintiffs accuse the company of committing human rights abuses for its use of child labor in Liberia.
In exchange for $3.19 in daily wages, Firestone Natural Rubber Company, a Bridgestone subsidiary, expects a typical Liberian worker to tap 650 trees a day, carrying seventy-pound buckets of latex for miles. A single laborer would have to work twenty-one hours per day to meet this quota, a near-impossible task. Which is why Firestone gives workers an extra incentive: tap 650 trees per day or see their daily wages slashed in half.
In a country whose economy has been ravaged by fourteen years of civil war, Firestone's employees don't have a choice but to comply. With Liberia's 85 percent unemployment rate, there will always be someone desperate enough to take their place.
The 650-tree daily quota policy has led many of Firestone's more than 4,000 employees to enlist their children and wives as workers to ensure that they meet their target. But these extra workers aren't paid any extra. And the children whose families depend on their labor for survival never have the opportunity to go to school.
Firestone, which is owned by Bridgestone, a Japanese company, but has headquarters in Nashville, Tennessee, also has been accused by the Liberian Environmental Protection Agency of dumping toxic waste into the river that feeds into the community's water supply. The workers, including children, are also exposed to harmful chemicals and pesticides in the production of rubber, which is hazardous to their health. But since the medical services Firestone offers are not accessible to those without birth certificates and clinic hours are limited, employees often do not receive the medical attention they need.
Emira Woods, co-director of Foreign Policy in Focus at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, DC, blames not only Bridgestone Firestone but the National Football League for giving the company the platform of a pinnacle event in American sports from which to reach the hearts and pocketbooks of the American people. "It is irresponsible for the NFL to use their marquee event to create a showcase for a company that for eighty-two years has exploited the people of Liberia," she said. "Bridgestone Firestone has based their profits on child labor and the destruction of the environment. They should be reprimanded not elevated."
But Peter Murray, the NFL's senior vice president of partnership marketing and sales, disagrees. In a statement, Murray said he's "pleased" with the company's sponsorship of the halftime show and involvement in the NFL Experience and Pro Bowl events. "By teaming with a global leader like Bridgestone, we can make America's favorite event even more powerful."
What Murray and many Americans might not know is that this "global leader" won the "Public Eye Global Award" in 2007 for worst global corporation due to its use of child labor and abuse of the environment. The award was given by Pro Natura, the Swiss branch of Friends of the Earth and another Swiss group, the Berne Declaration, at a ceremony that coincided with last year's World Economic Forum in Davos.
Yet to say that Murray was unaware of the abuses committed by Bridgestone Firestone would be inaccurate. In fact, Bama Athreya, executive director of the ILRF, sent Murray a letter in October outlining the company's practices. Murray responded in a letter to Athreya saying that Bridgestone "assured" the NFL "that it remains committed to improving the lives of its workers and their communities in Liberia."
But if Bridgestone Firestone is so committed to improving the lives of Liberian workers, why did it take three strikes over the course of eleven months, new elections for union leaders and pressure from African and US organizations like the United Steelworkers for the company to make changes? Even after workers held the first free election in the plantation's history, Firestone refused to negotiate with the union until Liberia's Supreme Court ruled December 21 that the elections were legitimate.
Instead of using Super Bowl marketing tactics to clean up its image, Woods says that Bridgestone Firestone could be doing the right thing on the ground in Liberia: "Cleaning up the riverways from toxic-waste dumping, paying adequate wages, removing the quota system--all of these things can be done for a whole lot less than the millions they're spending on the halftime show."
For more information on the advocacy campaign for Bridgestone Firestone workers in Liberia, go to www.stopfirestone.org